Stepping into a new role, position or job always comes with a learning curve; it’s inevitable. Transitioning into the editor’s position this year was no exception. Every week — every day, even — I’m learning new things, often on the fly. There are parts of this job I didn’t even know existed until it came time to do them. Luckily, I work with people who forgive my mistakes and help me through the new lessons that seem to be never-ending.
In addition to learning new skills, tactics and tasks, I’ve also quickly discovered which parts of this role are my favorites — and my least.
If you’re interested in knowing about the best parts of this job, shoot me an email or stop me in the student center. I would be thrilled to describe how much fun it is to see the paper printed for the first time on Thursday nights, work with people who are also dear friends and get a sneak peak of the new Ramen Doodle every week. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write a column about it at some point.
This, however, is not that column. No, this is the one where I’d like to discuss one of my least favorite parts of the job.
Every issue of The Bison begins with a Monday meeting and a blank white board. On this board are the titles of our various sections and empty spots for stories. We then brainstorm until we’ve filled it with story topics, photo/graphic assignments and writers. By the end of the process, the board is covered in my sloppy penmanship.
It’s daunting, to say the least.
My heart begins to beat a little faster, and my palms start to sweat about 15 minutes before our meeting every week. It’s scary to be faced with the blank board, knowing in the next hour it has to be filled with relevant stories. What if we can’t come up with enough? What if we miss the point? And the worst fear — what are the stories out there we’re missing?
I’ll be honest: We make mistakes sometimes. Specifically, I make mistakes. There are stories that get missed in the shuffle, especially if we don’t hear about them soon enough. There are voices not heard often enough. There are topics we are not allowed to discuss. I apologize for those instances.
However, I must say that one of my least favorite parts of this job is also one of the most powerful. Even though we miss things sometimes, we do end up filling that board every week with over 20 stories, and I’m proud of that. While some are more light-hearted than others, none of them are pointless. Every source, every interview, every topic — people contributed to those. Stories, big or small, are being told.
The primary purpose of a newspaper is to serve and inform the current community, but another role is that of recording history as it happens. When someone picks up a copy of The Bison years down the road, we hope they can get a snapshot of what life was like on this campus in February 2020. As we plan our stories every Monday, we try to consider our readers of today first, and then we consider what needs to be preserved for the searchers of tomorrow.
So, we’ll continue to fill the board week after week. We’ll do our best to find the stories that need to be shared and do our best to portray them honestly. If you have any suggestions, we’ll listen — please reach out. This newspaper is a community effort, for today and tomorrow. Thank you for continuing to partner with us.